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Bugaloo Leather Shoes for Your Baby Boo – Giveaway

I’m so excited about this review.  Look what I found!!

Soft-soled baby shoes for half the price!  Cute styles for boys and girls: frogs, birds, lions, pirates, mary janes, and elephants.  Bugaloo Leather shoes for baby are sweet, easy to clean, and easy for mom to slip on and off.  The elastic around the ankles isn’t so tight that it’ll leave red marks.

These adorable shoes arrived in packaging ready for gifting: a plastic-zippered pouch with polyfill stuffed into the shoes for shaping.  Three sizes are available:

  • Small (0-6 months) 4.5 inches
  • Medium (6-12 months) 5 inches
  • Large (12-24 months) 5.5 inches

What I love about Bugaloo shoes are the insoles.  Instead of suede, they have a breathable fabric lining that wicks away moisture and prevents sweaty feet.  The bottom of the sole is a smooth, brushed suede that provides traction for unsteady feet, but doesn’t pick up lint.  Plus, the soles are stain-resistant. If they do get dirty, they’re machine-washable.  Hallelujah!

The soft leather upper features adorable critters.  The Freddie shoes had “ribbit” embroidered on only one shoe…perfect for distinguishing left from right if you’re trying to consistently get your child’s feet to mold the shoes.  My husband and I decided to keep it easy on our brains: “ribbit” for the “right” foot.

Soft soles for young walkers are recommended by podiatrists and neurologists.  They’re the smart alternative to restrictive hard soles.  Bugaloo’s soft soles allow for proper balance and foot development.  Not only are they great for baby’s feet, they’re so adorable!

Bugaloo baby shoes offer all the features I love in a soft-soled shoe plus more, AND they’re only $15.  I can’t believe it.  $15 for incredibly well-made and well-styled shoes.  This is definitely my new go-to store for baby showers!  To top it off, 5% of each purchase you make at Bugaloo goes to International Justice Mission which fights against sex trafficking.

**WIN IT**

Two winners will get a pair of Bugaloo Shoes (retail value $15). To enter, visit Bugaloo Kids and check out their cute styles for infants and toddlers. Then, come back to this post and comment on the style and size you prefer.  Your choice–I know it’s a tough one!

Make sure you leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  This contest is open to everyone: internationals, too!

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on November 21, 2008.

Two winners will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after November 21st. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winners!!

jeni van horn: “OMG, you’re so correct, it is very hard to decide on a pair. I liked the “dash” in a medium. Great giveaway!!”

Tracy: “I love the George ones! Way too cute. Size 0-6 months”

Posted by Dr. Dolly on Traveling with Baby

See Kai Run, Jump, and Splash – Giveaway

logoLet your toddler run in style!  Any company who shares a middle name with my son is tops in my book (they already have great taste!).  But, how about flexible rubber soft-soled shoes that are stylin’?

skr-dominicEven if your little one can’t literally walk on water, at least he can jump in puddles and still keep his feet dry.

Forget booties, See Kai Run new fall line offers boots with soul for non-stop tromping fun.  The side zipper allows easy on-off, and for only $2 add the lux option of faux fur for extra warmth in the winter. There’s the mean, black, biker-inspired Dominic boot, and the purple grape star and striped Riley for your little fashionista, or the burnt orange Steph boots for your little Texas Longhorn.  That’s just a sampling–there are many, many more!

Bowling shoes meet bright, fresh colorful fun in the Bent, Boden, and Larkin styles.skr-yuna

Mary Janes—yeah, baby.  Work it.  So many darling styles for your little princess and diva.  I love the flower detailing on the black and white Emilie, and, the strappy, fire engine-red Yuna.

My son tried the Dominic with the faux-fur lining.  PLUSH!  Super toasty toes for a rainy autumn and snowy 420x300_julie_sidewinter.  I love how it’s easy to put ’em on with the side zip and how the flexible rubber bottoms move with his feet from heel strike to toe-off in the gait pattern of walking…perfect for a young toddler still figuring out his way with balance.

When you purchase a pair of stylin’ See Kai Run shoes, you’re also sharing a pair of shoes with a child in need.  For every pair sold on seekairun.com in the months of November and December, See 420x300_paul_pairKai Run will donate a pair to a child in need through Soles4Souls and local organizations in the Seattle, Washington area. It’s the season of giving – give a pair and share a pair!

See Kai Run comes in sizes 3 through 9, but check out their Smaller line for  infants and Eleven line for bigger kiddos (ages 3 through 8).

**WIN IT**

To enter, visit See Kai Run’s NEW Fall Line, then come back here and leave a comment on which style and size you’d love to win and who you’re winning it for.  Be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you, or another winner will be selected.

One winner will receive a pair of shoes from See Kai Run.  The winner can select any style, whether it’s the fall line or not.  Picking only one–that’s your toughest choice!

Only one entry per person.  Multiple entries will be removed.  The contest for See Kai Run shoes ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on November 13th.

The winners will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post shortly after November 13th. Provide your e-mail address, so I am able to contact you.  The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to another amazing participant.

–by Dr. Dolly

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner! Heather Prenger who said, “I would love to try the Paul in size 4 for Jack! Lately he has been doing much better at keeping his shoes on! Good thing since winter is approaching!”

Sweet Slumber Around the World – Giveaway

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winners!

1. Karma`, “This would be a great cd for my kids to fall asleep to. It can be difficult to find good kids music that isn’t hard for the parents to listen to as well.”

2. Kay Cookie, “This would be great for my son and the baby on the way.”

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DREAM SONGS NIGHT SONGS FROM BELGIUM TO BRAZIL

Bedtime just became a whole lot sweeter with lush lullabies from around the globe.  Angelic voices and gentle rhythms help little ones to wind down before being tucked-in.  Adults will also relax with the soothing songs which invite you to sing and hum along, even if you don’t understand the words.

Secret Mountain’s award-winning release features 40 minutes of world music accompanied by an illustrated bedtime story about an imgainiry journey to unknown lands for a truly imagination.  The CD includes PDF files with high-resolution printable illustrations for each song along with lyrics in each song’s original language and translations in English, Spanish, and French.

The ideal setting for listening to this rich tapestry of musical bliss is dim lighting and an evening cup of tea.  Listen, enjoy, relax…repeat.

Fave tracks:

  • Nade gau
  • C’est la nuit mon petit ange

[Appropriate for ages 0 to 12+]

Order your own copy of Dream Songs Night Songs: From Belgium to Brazil online.

** WIN IT **

I’ve been enjoying this week’s Bloggy Giveaways Carnival–thousands of prizes to win in only one week.  I want to play along, too!  So, here’s increased odds for winning a pretty amazing CD that will be loved by the entire family.  To enter, leave a comment about your child’s bedtime routine.

Two winners will each receive one own copy of Dream Songs Night Songs: From Belgium to Brazil. Only one entry per person per giveaway.  Multiple entries will be removed.  The contest for the Dream Songs Night Songs From Belgium to Brazil CD ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on November 3rd. The winners will be announced on November 4th.

The winners will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post. Provide your e-mail address, so I am able to contact you.  The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to another amazing participant.

–by Dr. Dolly

Shack Attack with Shaklee

I am glad that green living and green products are in popular demand by today’s consumers, because that means products are abundant and prices are competitive.  In other words, it is now cost effective for the average consumer to be green–compared to trying to reduce a carbon footprint 10 years ago when it was cheaper to produce more waste.

Options are nice for the consumer, but it also means the consumer has to stay on point and make sure items marketed as “green and biodegradable” are also “safe and non-toxic”.  Surprisingly, many cleaning products don’t meet both criteria.  And of the few that do, not all of them actually, well, CLEAN.

When I first heard about Shaklee’s Get CLEAN products, they sounded too good to be true.  Also, I was a little wary about purchasing a product through an MLM company based on previous experiences I’d had with other companies.  But, working with independent distributor Barrie J. Barratt was wonderful.  She’s been extremely kind and helpful without being pushy or bombarding me with phone calls and e-mails.  In fact, why can’t all MLM independent distributors be so pleasant to work with?

Barrie generously let me try the Get Clean Starter Kit for two months.  Overall I liked several of the products so much, that I signed up for the 15% discount and purchased more of the cleaning products that I really enjoyed.

Straight from the manufacturer’s website:

YOU’D HAVE TO SPEND MORE THAN $3,400 TO GET THE EQUIVALENT CLEANING POWER IN THE GET CLEAN STARTER KIT!

Also, when you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you also make a positive impact on the planet:

  • Eliminate 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills.
  • Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas.

Now, that’s a range of cleaning products I can LIVE with.

Is it SAFE?

Well, it’s their number one claim on their marketing and packaging.  Safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable.  You can read their product ingredients directly on their site library in PDF.  But, most products’ ingredients were not disclosed.  In fact, it was easier to find what they don’t include than to find out what they do include (that’s the beauty of selling a product through an MLM company).  Shaklee’s products do not contain the following:

  • No napthalene
  • No kerosene
  • No formaldehyde
  • No phenol
  • No cresol
  • No lye
  • No hydrochloric acid
  • No sulfuric acid
  • No petroleum distillates
  • No benzene
  • No ammonia
  • No paradichlorobenzene
  • No sodium hydroxide
  • No butyl cellosolve
  • No phosphoric acid
I believe Shaklee’s products were safer and equally (if not more) effective than typical commercial cleaners like Pine-Sol, 409, chlorine bleach, and Lysol.  Also, most of the Shaklee products were unscented, unlike the commercial counterparts which are heavy fume-laden, headache-inducing agents.
However, I wouldn’t recommend the non-organic Get Clean Handwash Concentrate due to ingredients like ammonium laureth sulfate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Terterastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, fragrance and phenoxyethanol.
How well does it clean?
It makes the most stubborn grunginess flee with minimal rubbing, scrubbing, scraping, and wringing.  Mildew, dirt, grease, spit up, baby poop–I tried the Basic H2 cleaning concentrate, super brite laundry booster, and scour off on everything–and they rocked!  Perhaps you may recall the unfortunate diaper-off incident–Shaklee’s Basic H2 took care of it.  If it can clean that mess (and THAT was a doozie!) it can clean ANY-THING.
The basmati rice that cooked too long in the stainless steel pot and became a charcoal mess–scour off! cleaned it right up so that it is once again stainless and steel instead of charry and black.
Scour Off™ Heavy Duty Paste

Here’s an exclusive scouring cleanser that sets a new standard. It even cleans burnt-on food in your oven. And doesn’t burn off your nose hairs in the process.

What I love about this paste is that it takes minimal elbow grease and it works very quickly–and it’s not harmful to come into contact with my skin.  Stove tops, grills, ovens, and caked on pans: beware!  With the Scour Off Paste in town, you’re gonna clean up your act!  This little beauty retails for $8.50.  I just wish it wasn’t on backorder for the past 5 weeks.  Yikes!

Basic H2® Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate (16 oz.bottle)

Instead of buying multiple cleaning products for all of your house cleaning needs, you can buy just one–reduce storage for bottles, have lest biochemical hazard in your home, and save a ton of money.  Sounds good to me!

Based on its dilution, the organic super cleaning H2 concentrate can clean numerous surfaces.

Basic H2 can clean all those things and more: cast iron, cooking tops, toilets, bathtubs, clay & ceramic tile floors, chrome, copper, vinyl, upholstery, wood, walls, toys, fine fabrics, gold, jewelry, and sinks.  Next to all-purpose cleaner in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of the H2–it’s THAT good.  I will use this product to clean my home and my clinic.  Two thumbs up.  4 stars.  This is worth all the hype–seriously!

For all of those benefits, it’s the best $12.15 you’ll ever spend on cleaning products.

Fresh Laundry Concentrate (Powder) – 5.5 lbs – Cleans 88 loads
The naturalenzyme formula leaves clothes extra clean while being gentle on the planet.  This stuff actually got my son’s ammonia-stinky cloth diapers stripped and cleaned.  I had to use twice the recommended amount of detergent, but it did do the trick.  I originally tried the liquid concentrate, but I don’t prefer using that in an HE front-loading washer…plus, it gets sticky and messy if it does happen to leak.  The powder is also great dissolved in water to clean carpet stains.

Laundry powder that does the dirty work, even with cloth diapers.  You get ~88 loads for $21.30.

100% Shaklee Guarantee.
Shaklee stands behind each and every product. The ingredients, purity, safety, and performance of all our Shaklee products are 100% guaranteed. And of course, Shaklee does not test its products on animals.
Get Your CLEAN On
That’s a whole lotta clean for retail value of $170.40 or, if you think you’ll be a repeat customer, you can opt to pay $20 for membership, and get 15% off each and every order for 12 months–with the member price, the Get Clean Start Kit is $149.60.  That may sound like a lot to shell out all at once, but because these products are super concentrated, you’re not paying for water or other fillers like you would in other products in most retail stores. You can order your very own Get Clean Starter Kit, or individual items, directly from Distributor Barrie J. Barrett.

GLAD: The organic cleaning products reduce waste, provide mean clean, and the Basic H2 Concentrate covers most of your home cleaning needs…all in one bottle.
SAD: The manufacturer doesn’t disclose ingredients on the majority of the products where the consumer can cross-check for safety.  The wait on a backordered product is 5 weeks and counting…
An original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly

Babylicious Snuggle Love

My son’s favorite part of his bedtime routine is his evening bath.  Getting out of the tub can be a bummer unless he can be snuggled up in cuddly goodness with a warm and absorbent hooded towel.

Check out this stylish hooded towel from the Babylicious Prince Charming Collection.  It arrived in darling brown box with a window and ribbon handle, perfect for gifting at your next baby shower.  The brown box also doubles as an entertaining toy for your toddler.

This 100% cotton terry towel measures 43″ x 24″, and it features a hood with a decorative blue-and-cocoa striped border.  The back of the terry towel is covered in a mod cotton print featuring a baby blue background with cocoa crowns.  Wrapping up a baby after bath time, it’s simply adorable:

The decorative fabric on the back of the terry actually keeps in the warmth and prevents the moisture from soaking through.  We typically dry off our son and put him in his pajamas on our bed, and this cool towel prevented any dampness from soaking through onto our quilt.  Not only is the outer fabric fun, it actually serves a purpose!

What did my son think of it?

He pretty much LURVED his new Babylicious hooded towel.

The hooded towel from the Prince Charming Collection retails for $38.00 US.  You can order it directly from the Babylicious site.  While you’re there, subscribe to their mailing list by December 24, 2008, and you could win an entire Babylicious collection.  Now, wouldn’t that take the edge off of the recession in your home?

GLAD: It’s the most effective hooded towel I’ve tried on my son to date.  It’s absorbent, and moisture doesn’t soak through which keeps him extra warm and snuggly.

SAD: It’s kinda pricey for a towel.  The size is great for an infant, but for my 1-year old who’s in the 100th percentile for height, it’s a little too small.  I’d love to see this hooded towel in a larger size for a more reasonable price.

An original post by Dr. Dolly

Music Reviews and a Contest

Charlottesville resident Ellis Paul’s 14th album, the Dragonfly Races, was inspired by his two daughters.  When his second daughter was born, he took 6 weeks off his road schedule–the longest amount of time in his 15-year touring career.  Ellis spent late nights pacing the floor while singing Sofi to sleep.  Then, he decided to use his songwriting skills to create music and lyrics with messages he wanted to pass on to his daughters as they grow.

The songs are intended to be sweet and playful, yet insightful and thoughtful.  The lyrics include compelling and witty story telling–painting  a picture with themes about peace, unity, and awareness of the planet as a whole.

There are no cute-sy lyrics or annoying toy piano sounds on this children’s CD.  This is a whimsical musical adventure that will be equally cherished by little ears and those with more sophisticated tastes.  Ellis’ folksy vocals and tracks remind me of Geoff Moore and Peter, Paul, & Mary.  This critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, and poet is the recipient of thirteen Boston Music Awards.  Don’t miss out as he gracefully shifts his songwriting style to encompass music and lyrics intended for families.

For imaginative fun, check out the title track 5 – Dragonfly Races. For playground inspiration, enjoy track 10 – I Like to Swing. This 14 track CD also includes a 24-page lyric book with Ellis’ original artwork inspired by each song.  You can purchase Dragonfly Races on Ellis Paul’s website for $15. 

_______________________________________________________________________

Baby Loves Music presents Baby Loves Salsa upcoming release: Salsa for Kittens & Puppies is produced by Grammy-winning producer Aaron “Luis” Levinson who won the 2006 Best Salsa Recording for the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.  The band has already headlined Central Park’s Summer Stage, Miami’s Bicentennial Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and will tour this fall.

Baby Loves Salsa features some of the biggest and brightest stars in contemporary salsa music including band leader and singer Jose Conde. The albums songs create a story of a group of kittens and puppies (gattitos y perritos) from the streets of New York City who go on to become the best salsa band in the land.

At first, I thought the album title sounded very corny.  What do kittens and puppies have to do with red hot salsa music?  But, I’ve been blown away by how fantastic this album truly is.  The first track, Somos la Banda, introduces each salsa instrument with a solo and its name en espanol while the kittens an puppies (children’s voices) shout out the names in English.  This is the recurrent theme throughout the album.  The concept sounds like the stacatto vocabulary lessons will disrupt the rhythm and flow of the songs, but quite the opposite.  The music enhances learning, but each song contributes to an overall storyline.  This album is more like a movie soundtrack than a language – multicutural teaching tool.  Think West Side Story, but with exceptionally good salsa musica!

Not only is the latin salsa rhythm entertaining for babies (Calvin always perks up when this album is playing), but you’ll find yourself shouting out the names of colors en espanol and shaking your hips to the beat.  The salsa rendition of Old MacDonald is truly a unique take on an old nursery rhyme favorite–especially fantastic are the abilities of the vocalists to portray animal sounds.

Baby Loves Salsa is expected to be released later this month.  In addition to the musica fantastico, there is a 20-page board book which helps children (ages 2-6) learn all about salsa and all about Spanish in a way that parents and kids can enjoy together.  You can pre-order your own copy of the CD package for $15.98.

_______________________________________________________________________

What do you get when you mix a guitarist and a bassist?  Trout Fishing in America, of course! Three-time Grammy nominated duo of Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood introduce Big Round World, their latest release featuring 14 new songs, many of which were inspired by kids’ songwriting workshops.  Their family music crosses the generations to appeal to all ages.  The musical style blends African pop, jazz, rock, and bluegrass to produce a truly eclectic album. 

The cool jazz licks of Too Good to Be True help you keep big fish stories in perspective.  I couldn’t help but chuckle at the lyrics to Always Chew Your Food and Curse of the Spinach.  But, my favorite track is hands down 9 – The Alarm Clock Rings. The agnsty rock hearkens back to the style of Green Day, but with lyrics that anyone with an alarm clock can relate to.

This is an album for families by a couple of adults who were inspired by kids.  Purchase your own copy of Big Round World.

**WIN IT**

Two winners will each win one own copy of Big Round World.

Only one entry per person per giveaway.  Multiple entries will be removed.  The contest for the Big Round World CD ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, October 24th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, October 25th.

The winners and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

–This is an original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly Garnecki

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winners!

terrajones, on October 12th, 2008 at 10:13 am Said: I love this!!! We try to expose our children to different styles of music…much of the kids music is…well, “kidsy”…This sounds fabulous!!!!

Catherine copeland, on October 14th, 2008 at 7:17 pm Said: the big round world!!!!! i just love it. i would love to have it for my wee ones

Sleep Tight and Sleep Safely

My son grows out of pajamas faster than I can blink.  Even if he can last longer in sized clothing for day wear, he seems to outgrow pajamas daily.  I don’t know if it’s due to the monstrous nighttime cloth diaper or the fact that he has a long torso and legs, but footed pj’s aren’t too economical for this kiddo.

Awhile ago, I purchased a cotton sleep sack and loved that I could easily couple it with a onesie for night time use.  It replaced the need for a blankie.  I don’t know the purpose of a blankie other than giving it to him as part of his nap time and bedtime ritual because he would always end up lying on TOP of the blanket instead of the reverse.  At least with a sleeping bag, he can stay warm and snuggled and not thrash his blanket about during the night.  For my safety conscientiousness, I knew it didn’t pose a rare yet potential strangulation hazard when he was alone in his crib.

So, when I heard that my fave baby feeding line company began Keen company to distribute the Grobag® baby sleeping bag developed in the U.K., I was glad to check out their design and fabric weight options or togs.  This collection of premium baby sleeping bags are the number one selling brand in Europe. It comes in a variety of thicknesses, sizes, and patterns, perfect for all climates and seasons.

Not only does Grobag® baby sleeping bag feature 100% cotton, but they also offer woven, jersey, fleece, and velour fabrics.  The baby sleeping bags come in 3 sizes: 0-6 months, 6-18 months, and 18-36 months, and each one is available in different togs depending on the fabric style of choice.

Grobag® baby sleeping bags were created when the founders of the brand, Rob and Ouvrielle Holmes, found that their son was constantly kicking off his covers and waking up during the night They were all exhausted from lack of sleep so they tried using a baby sleeping bag and discovered that their son slept through the night. Ever since, the Holmes’ have been on a mission to develop their own line of premium baby sleeping bags.

The bag sizes are based on child height and weight.  Since Calvin tends to be built more tall and lean instead of short and chunky, I went with the length guide to help me choose a size Since we’re often on the road, I opted for the travel bag at 1.0 tog which seemed the most versatile fabric weight.  Since we recently moved to an apartment without air conditioning, I’ve found the 1.0 tog to be a little too warm for many nights, but as the weather cools for fall, it’s perfect.

The Grobag® travel bag features a 2-way front zipper closure on all sizes, and a back vent (which can be secured closed with a hook and loop closure) for use with a 5-point harness.  There’s a zip-click feature on 18-36 month bags, which stops adventurous little ones from opening the zipper.  I love that the zipper can be used in either direction to position the sleeping bag as you need it over the 5-point harness.  Also, the YKK zipper can be “hidden” at the bottom by a fold of fabric that snaps over it.  My only gripe is that the back vent doesn’t positioning options for a baby with a longer torso (like my son).  It makes it a little tough to weave the seat-belt clasp through the back vent (I had to almost fold my son in half to make it work in the carseat).  But, it may not be an issue for smaller sized babies.  If there were several lengths of back vent options, that would make the travel bag easier to adapt to different sized babies.

Compared to other baby sleeping bags that I’ve tried with my son, I definitely prefer the Grobag® baby sleeping bag.  After numerous washings, the zipper doesn’t change shape and cause the fabric to buckle and bend, yet it maintains it’s shape and the quality is enduring.  I love that there are varying tog options depending on the season.  In the coming chilly autumn months, I don’t need to dress Calvin in numerous layers of clothes for our evening walks (because changing a diaper after all of THAT is just too much work!), instead I can put him in a shirt and a medium to heavier tog Grobag® and we’re set!

He first wore the Grobag® baby sleeping bag at 7 months.  But now even at 10 months, there’s plenty of room for him to grow another 8 inches and wiggle his toes.  Heck, he can even stand up in his crib while wearing it, and he still gets around with a fast crawl in the Grobag® baby sleeping bag.  The baby sleeping bag retails from $39 to $60 depending on the fabric, tog, and style.

As the perfect companion to the Grobag® baby sleeping bag, Keen also features the Grobag® egg color-changing digital room thermometer. The egg gives off a soft glow that changes color according to the temperature in baby’s room. Parents can tell at a glance if the room is too hot or too cold and then adjust either the room temperature or the baby’s clothing or bedding accordingly. Monitoring room temperature is an important part of creating a safe sleeping environment for baby.

The Grobag egg® features a simple to use room thermometer that changes color (blue – yellow – orange – red) based on the temperature.  There’s a digital room thermometer with permanent ‘back-lit’ LCD readout in Farenheit.  It provides a soft ‘nightlight’ glow, and the power adaptor included.

I tried using the Grobag® egg digital room thermometer as a nightlight in my son’s room, but since there is no natural light in his room, the light was too dim in his cave.  So now, my husband and I use it in our room to gauge the temperature in the back of the apartment.  It’s dim enough for us that it doesn’t keep us awake.

When I first tested the Grobag® egg, I found that its temperature readings were two to three degrees too high.  I was concerned that it always registered as red or too warm in my son’s room.  So, I compared the temperature readings of the Grobag® egg to a mercury-based thermometer and another digital thermometer.  I found that the Grobag® egg was consistently too high in its reading compared to the other digital thermometer which was spot on with the mercury thermometer (which I considered a baseline for accuracy).

So, now my husband and I use the Grobag® egg digital room thermometer in our bedroom  as a dim nightlight.  We’ve never seen the temperature vary in color other than red or orange.  If it would drop just ONE more degree, we could see it turn yellow!  Perhaps with the coming fall weather we’ll see yellow or even blue on the Grobag® egg.  It’s a great concept, but I think there needs to be a little more time in the lab spent on developing temperature readout accuracy.  The egg retails for $30.

To learn more about Grobag® products, visit the company’s site.  Order your own Grobag® baby sleeping bag or Grobag® egg digital room thermometer. _______________________________________________________________________

**WIN IT**

You can win your very own Grobag® egg digital room thermometer from Keen Distribution.  To enter, visit Keen’s website, then come back here and leave a comment about which innovative product you’d like to try.

Only one entry per person per giveaway.  Multiple entries will be removed.  The contest for the Grobag® Egg Thermometer ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 26th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 27th.

The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner! Kandice Watson, on September 21st, 2008 at 2:41 pm Said: “I love the timeout table!! That is too funny!”

A Contest of Wild Sorts

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the Winner! sharon martinez, on September 20th, 2008 at 5:51 pm Said:

“strong wind, torrential rain
Hurricane in the Gulf
Fall in florida

Thank you for the contest”

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You asked for it, and now, you can get it.  Your very own copy of Where the Wild Things Are…And 5 More Stories by Maurice Sendak DVD from Scholastic Storybook Treasures™.

The book comes to life in the animated adaptation of the storybook classic.  In a room full of kiddos ages <1 to 13 years, the older ones found it entertaining.  The subtitles highlight as the story is read to encourage read-along fun.

The 5 other film shorts were not as detailed in artistic quality–in fact the technology was decades older than the title piece.  But, they’re entertaining enough for younger kids who aren’t yet jaded by the animated special effects available in most of of today’s films.  There are songs performed by diva Carole King which sound dated compared to today’s music, but it IS music and it IS singing which kids love.

Personally, I could give or take the 5 extra features, but the title feature is worthwhile.  Major craft bonus is that the DVD comes with incredibly detailed stickers inspired by illustrations from Where the Wild Things Are…And 5 More Stories by Maurice Sendak.

You can purchase your own copy of Where the Wild Things Are…And 5 More Stories by Maurice Sendak DVD online . . . OR you can try to win your very own copy here on TWB by leaving a comment in haiku format about what you love most about autumn.  You must keep to true haiku syllabic form in order to be eligible.

Only one comment per person.  Multiple entries will be deleted.  The contest for Where the Wild Things Are DVD ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 26th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 27th.

The winner for each prize and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

For the Navigationally Challenged

As we prepared to move to our new home in Charlottesville, portable GPS was really a time-saving technology.  Our experience began back in January when we made our first visit to Cville with GPS in hand while driving or walking.  We both love maps but on short trips to new areas with lots of things to see, reading a map can really slow you down.  A GPS can reduce planning to a few seconds and eliminate the need for a computer with WiFi and printer.

Steve’s parents purchased a competitor’s GPS to avoid arguments over what route to take.  We borrowed it for our first two Cville trips…it didn’t work!  That is, the “avoid arguments” feature must have been disabled or broken.  Aside from that, it was great.  Shortly before the big move, I contacted TomTom to conduct a thorough trial of the TomTom Go920 GPS Vehicle Navigator.

Features

  • 4.3 inch touchscreen
  • Handsfree car kit
  • Built-in FM transmitter
  • Bluetooth remote control
  • Traffic update information/options
  • Voice address input
  • Enhanced positioning technology
  • Map Share technology of all 7 continents

Kudos

From a practical point of view, the Go920 GPS did exactly what we needed it to do.  We needed directions, not the kind you get on a computer for planned trips, but the kind you need when you get a call on your cell phone for a last minute meeting or interview while you are driving on the highway.  We found ourselves in this situation quite frequently.  We were looking for work, looking for commercial property to lease, and just plain looking (for everything).  The TomTom Go920 GPS was a lifesaver in these circumstances.  You can pick up the classifieds, hop in your vehicle, and dash off to six different places in a moment ‘s notice with zero planning or printing!  It’s a travelphile’s best friend, AND it’s green.

The Go920 is well endowed with desirable features: Bluetooth phone sync, an FM transmitter to play MP3s and spoken directions through your stereo, a QWERTY keyboard, and auto-complete suggestions for cities and streets.  All of these features worked great.  This was our first experience talking on our cell phones between 2 vehicles with external automobile speakers – fantastic!  The MP3 player was also handy since both of our vehicles have “old school” stereos with no more than a standard CD player.

Keyboard layout may not seem like a big deal but try to find the right keys when they’re in alphabetical order (borderline infuriating!) versus a keypad that’s organized like your computer keyboard (Duh!  Why aren’t all GPS units like that?).  TomTom scores BIG brownie points on the keypad layout.

The window mount is also small enough that it won’t obstruct your driving view when the GPS is not in use.  Safe driving features earns a huge thumbs up from this parenting duo.  Just for amusement’s sake, we adored the option to listen to directions spoken in various accents. Our fave, the Australian guy.  However, if directions aren’t in English, the directions won’t tell you “Turn left at Smith Street,” instead they’ll say “Turn left in 200 feet”.  If you don’t mind calculating distance for all your turns, then no big deal, but I found it more of a chore than a benefit.

Areas Needing Improvement

Unfortunately, the Go920 fell short of our expectations in several areas. First, the nit-picky items: start-up is a bit slow, satellite acquisition was sometimes slow (usually when weather was bad but occasionally even when it was fine), and we would have like a longer battery  life (especially since we tested it with Bluetooth and FM transmitter OFF). Our biggest complaints are three: screen, menus, and points-of-interest (POIs).  The screen was hard to see in bright light conditions and unusable in direct sunlight.  So forget those walking tours on sunny days.  We had little trouble while inside a vehicle but occasionally sunlight would interfere.

Also, TomTom’s Go920 menu construction was often confounding.  A few options had 8-9 pages to look through.  Granted, most of these were features you would set-up at home but a few options, like setting up an itinerary, were too complex/confusing to tinker with while traveling (I’m still not sure if we ever figured out the multi-destination itinerary function).

Finally, POIs which may stand for POIntless rather than points of interest.  Unless you are looking for a major landmark, airport or chain-restaurant, you probably won’t find this feature helpful.  A competitor’s GPS unit can look up “specialty clock shops” in a modestly populated area and retrieve 20 options, while the Go920 couldn’t even give us one large-chain grocery store option in Cville (FAIL!).

If you’re looking strictly for utility, a cellphone with GPS-like features may be sufficient.  As cellphones become more complex they may test the metal of dedicated GPS units like the TomTom. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for satellite guidance vs. the limited coverage of most cell phones.  For example, our cellular phones currently operate “out of network” in Cville, hence, we have no advanced features like GPS, not to mention those areas which totally lack coverage.  For the cost of a Bluetooth hands-free device for you car, you might as well spring a few extra bucks and get a GPS that also plays MP3s (something you’ll need next year when your car radio doesn’t work anymore because it’s not HD-compatible).

The Go920 automatically cuts out the music when you have an incoming call – so you won’t have to adjust the volume while you’re driving, talking, drinking your coffee, and trying not to speed (too fast).

Overall, we had mixed considerations of the TomTom Go920 which retails for $349.99.

GLAD: As a GPS, it gits-er-done and gets you there.  Awesome keypad QWERTY layout and the option of listening to a sexy Aussie dude’s voice providing directions.

SAD: Terrible screen contrast in bright, sunlight conditions, and POIntless ability to locate relevent points of interest.

Read more about the TomTom Go920 directly from the manufacturer.  Purchase a TomTom Go920.

Ditch the Diaper Bag

There are times when I’m not lugging around a diaper bag, and I prefer a lightweight and comfortable option for toting necessities.

I’m especially elated when that option happens to be GORGEOUS and sustainable for the ecosystem while also supporting Fair Trade.

Exotic beauty melds with practical comfort in Saraye’s original hand-woven tatami purses from Cambodia which is designed, manufactured, and distributed by Baskets of Cambodia.

I’m not usually one to get too excited about purses.  I don’t own many because I prefer classic styles in neutral colors that can match almost any outfit and last the test of time in terms of style and durability.

My first glimpse of the rainbow of Saraye Tatami Purses was at a specialty shop in Charlottesville along the Downtown Mall.  That was probably the first time I walked by a display of purses, paused, and back-peddled to get a closer look because I was so charmed by their striking appearance and incorporation of Asian style details.

I couldn’t wait to receive my hand-woven black striated Curved Dabby Tatami Purse in the mail.  I actually squealed with delight when I unwrapped it, then I showed it off to my husband.  This lovely piece incorporates subtle Asian touches such as the large butterfly style button which serves as a closure in addition to a zippered top.   Privacy pockets fit for a cell phone or wallet, and the interior compartment’s spaciousness leaves room for just about everything a medium size purse can handle.  For $44.90, it’s not going to break the bank, but it’ll still help sustain Cambodian women working to rebuild their lives in their war-ravished country.

What do I love best about this adorable purse?  The ergonomic curved feature that allows it to curve to my body when worn on my shoulder.  It doesn’t feel like it gets in my way, and if I’m going to carry a purse, it better be comfortable!

Numerous color options are available, such as burleywood brown, crimson, natural, and fresh mint (among others).  I also adore the numerous style options such as the first tatami-style backpack, the Fashion Pack.  If you really needed a stylish backpack option that could double as a minimal diaper bag in a pinch, the Fashion Pack could pull it off, especially since it’s only $26.90.

For the minimalist who wants to stowe keys, cash, and lip balm,–check out the petite and sweet Kim Ang available for $26.90

Want a purse that stands up when you set it down so the contents don’t spill out (because you really hate having to deal with a zipper), then the Sophon is definitely for you with a durable drawstring feature and sturdy bottom.  It’s got ergonomic features for your hip and an adjustable shoulder strap.  It’s also a practical buy at $26.90.

On my wishlist for a briefcase adaptation of East meets West is the striking and functional Susulah Business tote which can tote a small laptop. and a few books.  Bloggers, how bout taking a Susulah to the next BlogHer?  For $39.90, you can be stylin’ and bloggin’ on the road.

Check out all the styles and color options and order online from Saraye.

Traveling with Baby has partnered with Saraye to offer FREE SHIPPING! Save $5.95 by using code 00500 at checkout.

GLAD: Gorgeous, svelte, body-hugging comfortable design which supports war-torn Cambodia AND the ecosystem.  What’s not to love?

SAD: No complaints about the purse, but I wish the website featured more details about the various materials used highlighting the GREENness, and it would be helpful to feature the dimensions of each purse.